Sunday, 22 February 2015

2015 Reasons to Count my Blessings



I always wanted a dog. Cats were not even on my wavelength.
It all started when Cairis asked for a cat for her 5th birthday. I headed her off by saying that she was too young to have the responsibility. She kept asking, birthday and Christmas, until her 9th birthday when her father agreed that she could have one.
We started with a rescue cat, who quickly worked out that I was the food provider, and we became joined at the hip. When she was put to sleep after suffering from cancer, I swore that I wasn't having another one.
My neighbour's cat had kittens on Cairis's 18th birthday. She took this to be a sign that it was time for another cat. Somehow, she and her dad ganged up on me, and we went to visit the kittens. I fell in love with the runt of the litter, my Ebony, who looked like her coat was too big for her and was the scruffiest kitten you have ever seen. Cairis liked the first born, a pretty tabby, who became  our Maisie. Having said I didn't want another cat, I became parent of two!
When I come home from work they both run to meet me. They snuggle up by the fire in the winter evenings, and Ebony curls up wherever I am working, or sleeping.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

2015 Reasons to Count my Blessings



I have always been a gadget fiend. I love little things to make life simpler and tasks quicker. I don't even mind if they are little pieces of plastic, some of which I keep at school for a lesson on innovation.
But my favourite thing of all is my tech. I now have a mini ipad as well as a big one, a kindle and a desktop. Last week I needed to use all of it at work: I was videoing lessons and photographing the board work of my colleagues who are starting their DipTesol.
I spent the weekend transferring it all to my big machine, and backing it up for safekeeping. I also bought myself a new, red, mouse and a new external hard drive. Nice!!
Apart from the fact that the tech allows me to keep in touch with the world, I just love the fact that everything is getting smaller. Today there are apps to do almost everything.
My friend got me a sports monitor last week. It measures/ counts your steps, etc and recognises the pattern of your sleep- which is quite cool.
Now I'm off to read one of the books which I have just downloaded to my kindle. Everything around me is charging........LOL.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

2015 Reasons to Count my Blessings


The Island

I first came to live here 30 years ago. I had been living, and teaching, in France and had come over  to help out a friend for the summer. On returning to France, I finished my contract and moved back to the island permanently.
The island is divided into 12 Parishes, a bit like mini Swiss Cantons. Each Parish has its own system of government, primary school and Parish Church. We live in one of the urban parishes, just a short walk from the centre of town (St. Helier), and a short walk from the beach.
Every day I drive around the south coast to work. The tidal range is huge- one of the largest in the world- and the sea is at a different stage of tide each day.
The college is in a village on the west side of the island, a lovely location and very picturesque.
The crime rate is incredibly low and most people have jobs, unlike many other parts of the world at the moment. We have a thriving community of Portuguese and Eastern European workers.

The old language, Jerriais, is still spoken in the country parishes, and is now being taught in the schools. It is similar to the old Norman of William the Conqueror. I can read it and understand some of what is said to me, but I can't speak it.

It is a fascinating place to live, full of old traditions and old buildings. The 13th C Mont Orgeuil Castle stands proud on the East coast- only superseded when Elizabeth castle was built by Walter Raleigh for his Queen.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

2015 Reasons to count my blessings




I am really blessed with amazing friends. My very best friend would drop everything for me if I needed her, and she makes me laugh.

My musician friends are always around, as we play together almost every week. We always find something to be cheerful about. Even when Carl is feeling cantankerous, we can jolly him back into good humour.

My online friendships are very special to me. Many of them start out as names of people who think like me. Very often we manage to meet up at conferences, and it is like getting together with your own family. There are now few of them I haven't met in person, and in Manchester that number will drop even more.

I count my colleagues among my friends. I work in a college where the staffroom is incredibly supportive.
I have kept in touch with many of my students over the years, and they too have become friends, and sometimes come to stay, or just return to the college for more lessons.

Someone once told me that friends are the family we choose for ourselves, and I agree wholeheartedly.